Monday, April 23, 2012

West Side Story International Tour

The past month I was busy working on a project that left very little time for auditioning.  I've only gone to three auditions recently, so there hasn't been much to update on.  Apologies for that.  Now, I did recently go in for my first invited call for a principal role.  It was for the role of Anita in the international tour of West Side Story.  What a fun role!  I was given a song and sides to learn and practice, which was nice because it helped me feel a bit more prepared going into the audition and I had about a week to get everything together.

The day of the audition, I was in the middle of doing a full run through for the show that I was rehearsing and had to run out during lunch just to be able to get to the audition.  I arrived there about fifteen minutes late, which my agent had already cleared with the casting folks beforehand and unfortunately, during my hasty exit from rehearsal I left my shoes behind!  I had to do the entire audition barefoot!  When I finally entered the audition room, ridiculously flustered, there were six other girls already in the middle of learning a combination from "America".  I had to jump in and learn the combo the best I could; however, the director, Joey McKneely, was gracious enough to go back and quickly reteach the beginning of the combination for me.  After reviewing it a few times and giving us corrections we then did the combination two at a time.  After that he had us do grande jetes (leaps) on each side and then everyone went outside to wait to sing.

I asked to sing as soon as possible so that I could get back to rehearsal, but still had to wait for  two girls to go in front of me.  Once it was my turn in the room I sang the excerpt they gave me from "A Boy Like That".  The song happens when Anita discovers that Maria is still seeing Tony, a Jet, who has just killed Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks and the boyfriend of Anita.  I sang it once and then Joey came over to me and said that while he liked my voice he wanted my acting to have less outward anger and suggested I turn the emotion more inward.  So I sang it again, and then he wanted to hear the last note again!  So I sang the last half of the song again!  I think that some people might get discouraged by corrections in an audition, but I love it because to me it means that they are interested in you and they want to see how well you take direction.

After the singing, I read the sides I was given.  Again, there were a lot of corrections and suggestions from Joey.  He even cajoled me into doing an improv dialogue with him where he was a little kid who wanted a cookie and I had to tell him no over and over again!  Now in my head I don't yet consider myself an actor so this was all incredibly foreign to me, but I gave it my best and tried to apply what I do when singing a song to reading the lines.  I definitely see a straight acting class in my future though! In total, I probably read the sides about three times and then they sent me outside to have my measurements taken!  Of course, that didn't mean I got the job.  The Rockettes do the same thing to their final round girls so that if they are selected they can start costuming right away.  They didn't take everyone's measurements though so I at least made it past the next cut!

Overall, it was a very new audition experience for me.  I haven't heard back from them yet, and the tour leaves in less than a month so I assume they gave the role to someone else.  But I was very happy how the audition turned out, especially since it started out so crazy!  Here's to more principal auditions in the future!

*This is the one and only Debbie Allen playing Anita during America at the Tony Awards.  Her dancing is just ridiculous!

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